Today, I saw a comment on a website where the poster was asking about the relevance of the exponential function as the global financial crisis grinds on. Here's my take on the relevance of the exponential function.
To quote Chris Martenson (of 'Crash Course' fame), we live in "an exponentially based system of money and debt, designed to flourish under conditions of constant growth ..."
Our predicament today is that without economic growth, our "exponentially based system of money and debt" rapidly goes tits up. Hence, the ever more frantic screams for economic growth from our lords and masters as they grapple with, and foresee the consequences of economic contraction on our unsustainable "exponentially based system of money and debt."
So, over time debt-based money grows exponentially due to interest (an immutable feature of the system). As/when loans can't be serviced (like now), the accumulation of debt also "goes exponential" over time.
Hence the increasingly ridiculous sums of (printed) money now being bandied about as being required to bail out our totally fcuked system (too much fiat money debt and not enough economic growth). Chasing an exponential function requires chasing something to infinity: hence £5 billion, becomes £35 billion, becomes £100 billlion, becomes £650 billion becomes "Oh sh*t, this sucker's going down ...".
Implications for the real world? Well I reckon we could be facing at least two decades of trend economic contraction (probably longer) and, quite possibly, an eventual return to a state of affairs that will look remarkably like pre-Industrial Age standards of living. But that's far too scary for most people, so the order of the day is to whistle in the dark, scream for more economic growth and print another £500 billion.